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05/29/2003

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Keith Bauer

I have to say, I can only see this as a positive thing for the industry and the community. Nobody protests the enforcement of ratings on movies; it's high time games were treated the same.

Perhaps if video game manufacturers realise that they can't easily sell ultraviolent games to younger kids, we'll see some innovation there...

But ultimately, even if violent video games are no more or less harmful to children than violent movies, the two forms of entertainment should be covered by similar laws. I don't want my kids seeing violent movies, and I'm glad they can't rent them themselves. I don't want my kids playing violent video games, and I wish they couldn't rent them themselves.

Ultimately, the law is only as protective as the parents. If you feel differently, you can easily circumvent the law for your kids.

dzeroo

Terminator II anyone?
She makes it look very noble by saying that she only wants the video game retailers to follow the industry's own rating code, but I'm not sure so about this 'prevent kids from playing games that allow violence to police officers'. It makes me sad to see an industry with so much potential being demonized by opportunistic folk, like politicans and lawyers. I suppose it fits in nicely with the Patriot Act and what not. Ashcroft would be pleased.
However, I do agree with the fact that some games aren't suitable for kids, but if she's suspicious of an interviewer just because he's from the industry, you're really not helping yourself. A little criticism has never hurt anyone.
Oh yeah, and after seeing the Matrix Reloaded I'm not so sure about how Mr. Anderson fits into all this.

Exick

I agree with some of your sentiments Keith, but the difference between movie ratings and video game ratings is that there are no laws governing how old a child has to be in order to see a movie except for the case of "pornographic material".

The MPAA, theaters, and rental/retail stores self-enforce the rating system. In other words, if some theater lets your 15-year-old kid into an R-rated movie or sells him/her a super-violent movie, you can't call the cops. The reason "nobody protests the enforcement of ratings on movies" is because no such enforcement (by the government) exists. And if legislation similar to this (but aimed at movies and/or TV instead) was ever presented, there would be a shitstorm the likes of which neither you nor I could imagine.

I do think the industry needs to do a far better job of policing itself in order to prevent kids getting their hands on realistically-violent games, but I think knee-jerk, narrow-minded solutions like this are wholly inappropriate.

misuba

it's not true that nobody protests the rating system - do a little research on a movie called "Coming Soon." (at least i think that was the title. independents and others who want to question or push the gender assumptions of the ratings board are particularly hard hit.)

however, as for "[t]he notion that interactivity makes media different and therefore subject to fewer or different free speech protections" being "a sad sign in the still-early development of the medium" - well, maybe it is a sad sign, but... can we prove that it's not true?

misuba

For those with time to fact-check Ms. Dickerson's assertion that Doug Lowenstein of the IDSA advocates buyers of all ages having access to all video games, here are some links to Mr. Lowenstein's statements before Congress (not an all-encompassing source for his positions, but they're a start):

http://www.idsa.com/testimony72501.htm

http://www.idsa.com/testimony72001.htm

jccalhoun

I hate to see laws like this passed. However, the industry is in dire need of a wake up call. they need to publicized game ratings and make sure that retailer are inforcing them big time. they need to make a really good show of it so that more laws lke this aren't introduced. they need to have high profile commercials and policies that they can point to next time someone tries to blame the industry for something so they can say, "See we are doing all we can, it's those pesky retailers!" If they don't more and more negative press is going to come out and it may become a serious problem. If games keep getting eroded like this legally, how long will it be before someone tries the old, sue the game company thing again and actually end up winning?

walkerz

In reference to one particular statement of Ms. Dickerson's "...women, ethnic minorities or gays—who are also targeted in games...". I can't think of any game which could be construed (no matter how warped ur point of view) that can be thought of as anti-gay.

On second thoughts maybe she feels the lack of male prostitutes in GTA 3 is anti-gay.
Seriously I suppose that the fact that there are no openly gay characters in games, that I can think of, could be seen as anti-gay.

I suspect her comment about ethnic minorities refers to Hitman 2 where the Sikh community complained that in one level a building occupied by a violent cult resembled one of their most holy temples. The level was then replaced by Eidos proving that at least some of the video games industry can demonstratably police itself. I suspect some ethnic minorities have more important things to worry about atm than how they are portrayed in games, like public perception or the possiblity of their countries being invaded.

With specific reference to her wording I can't think of any games that target women (there are few in the other usage of the word either), in fact having woman 'bad guys' might be seen as a step forward from the current portrayal (providing of course that they didn't fall madly in love with the male protaganist - an unfortunate side effect under the James Bond principle leading to a perfectly sensible unequal opportunities hiring policy by evil geniuss' (geni?) in any film they feature in.)

On second thoughts NOLF 2 features female ninjas but you also play a woman so no James Bond principle.

stuzzy

I guess it's too much to ask for parents to stay involved with their kids and monitor the media they consume. I understand that parents can't be everywhere at once, for instance, when their kid is at a friends house, but I feel a good parent should have knowledge about what their kid is doing. Especially when they are younger. When they get older,around 14 or so when they start branching off from there parents in their thoughts I really belive that they are not stupid enough to believe that killing cops is ok just because they saw it in a video game. If "The well being of children always trumps the First Amendment" as she says in her interview, I can only imagine a future quote reading somthing like this "The well being of children always trumps the Constitution and the Bill of Rights". As a matter of fact, anyone familiar with DFACS knows that is already the case.
I can only see this as another lame attempt to get the government to raise people's kids for them and protect them from all that is evil and wrong, rather that taking the time to be involved in their kids lives and doing it themselves. In Dr. Anderson's paper it clearly states "What Can You Do?" and lists what you can do as a parent to "protect" your child. Why don't parents get off their lazy behinds and do it. Oh wait, they are probably both tired after both working all day long so they can keep up with the Jones's. Why should they raise their kids, they have an SUV to pay for. Better to let the government regulate us to death so I won't have to put any effort into raising my child. I wonder how many kids are playing "America's Army"? A free fps produced by the government to aid in army recruiting. When I went to download it I wasn't asked how old I was. It's funny that they try to police this while they are guilty of it at the same time.

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